CM Punk is currently involved in a feud with The Shield in WWE. The trio of Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins has been a thorn in Punk's side for quite a while now. And since besting them in a three-on-one handicap match at TLC, The Best in the World seems to be focused on tearing down WWE's most dominant faction one member at a time.
But in the midst of all this is the fact that the company is missing Punk on the main event level. And that could change drastically at the Royal Rumble on Sunday, January 26.
There was a point when seeing Punk elevated back to WWE's prime spotlight once again seemed like a forgone conclusion. The stage was set for the moment to happen, mostly due to the heat that Punk was getting with the company's No. 1 authority figure, Triple H.
After all, The Shield had been acting as Hunter's unofficial bodyguards since SummerSlam and had been more than willing to do his bidding. The Game had been calling the shots, directing The Shield's every move and using it as a weapon whenever a WWE Superstar decided to defy his wishes.
He used The Shield against The Rhodes Brothers. He used it against The Big Show. And he used it against Daniel Bryan. In all three cases, someone decided to rebel against Triple H and The Authority and in all three cases, that person met The Shield head on.
So when CM Punk decided to step out of line as well, he was also met with the Hounds of Justice. To say that Punk was more than just a little suspicious is a major understatement.
And the fact is that by picking a fight with Triple H, Punk puts himself right back at the forefront of WWE. This is very reminiscent of their feud back in 2011, after Punk dropped the pipe bomb and left with the WWE Championship after beating John Cena at Money in the Bank.
And Triple H was left to pick up the pieces.
Even though Hunter was a babyface at the time, he and Punk instantly had heat with each other. The reason for this of course is because of Punk's rebellious nature and because he believed Triple H had become nothing more than a corporate sellout.
Reviving that heat now, three years after the fact, seemed like a great prospect for both sides. Now that Triple H is heel, the move made even more sense.
But a funny thing happened on the way to Punk climbing back into the main event scene; both Brock Lesnar and Batista decided to come back.
The imminent return of "The Animal" Batista to WWE has now been overshadowed somewhat by the reappearance of Brock Lesnar on Monday Night Raw. It's safe to say that before The Beast returned with Paul Heyman many fans believed Batista could possibly win the Royal Rumble and then challenge for the WWE World Championship at WrestleMania 30.
But now that Brock could be headed for a title shot himself, the situation is becoming very confusing very quickly.
Will Brock face the winner of the Royal Rumble match between John Cena and Randy Orton at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view? Or could we perhaps see Paul Heyman's sole client go on to the company's biggest event of the year in April to challenge for the industry's top championship?
Or will that spot be given to Batista? Could Batista win the Royal Rumble, guaranteeing himself the main event shot at WrestleMania against either John Cena or Randy Orton?
Or could the match at Mania be Batista vs. Brock instead?
Somewhere in the middle of all this intense speculation is CM Punk. The Best in the World has seemingly been lost in the shuffle of all this hype and truth be told, it's not very surprising. The fact is now there's only one major championship in WWE, which means the number of top challengers who can legitimately be in the running is very limited.
But if there is a way for Punk to reemerge from the sudden influx of veteran stars, then I feel it definitely should happen.
Even though both Brock and Batista will surely bring more eyes to the product, the truth is that Punk is a WWE mainstay. Next to John Cena and Randy Orton, Punk has helped carry the main event torch for the company over the past three years. He is a pro wrestler from top to bottom, a guy who is still carving out his legacy in WWE.
And while there is nothing wrong with both Batista and Lesnar moving on to other endeavors, I do not know if thrusting them back into the championship scene is truly the best move. If fans have learned anything from The Rock over the past few years, it's that when a veteran returns, it's best to not get too attached.
But Punk is a proven main event talent, a guy who brings it every time he steps into the ring. His loyalty has been to WWE, and his immediate future in the company is not predicated on whether or not he's in the main event scene.
In other words, he's likely not going anywhere anytime soon. So why not use him to the fullest?
I believe that the time is right for Punk to come back to WWE's main event and possibly even championship scene. He is still one of the most popular Superstars in the company, and right now he has the potential to become its top babyface in spite of Batista.
Punk has made a career of defying the odds, of doing what so many said he could never do. What better way to promote him back to WWE's top spot than to show him fighting up through a company of megastars that appear to be standing in his spotlight?
The truth is that some of WWE's most exciting matches and moments in 2013 came from both Punk and Daniel Bryan. Now that Bryan has apparently joined The Wyatt Family, Punk is left to keep doing the work to entertain fans. And maybe the time has come to reward him for it once again.
And that reward could come at the Royal Rumble. Punk will likely be entered in the match and if he is, then perhaps he should once again beat the odds and win. That victory would bring the main event at WrestleMania 30 and despite the number of stars booked, Punk could be the man hoisting the two championship belts over his head.
WWE is all about opportunity. Though its returning stars will be given ample opportunity to shine, it's the company's best workers that deserve that as well. CM Punk fits that description perhaps better than anyone, and the Royal Rumble could be the night we see him heading back to the top once again.
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